For the longest time, Madison “Maddy” de Vera felt conflicted. She loved the entertainment industry and the glamorous world of celebrity interviews and red carpets. But she also loved the world of technology and the technical challenge of coding and problem solving. How could her two very different interests coexist? She found her answer at Syracuse University. 

Currently in her junior year, de Vera is double majoring at Syracuse’s School of Information Studies and Newhouse School of Public Communications. Bringing together her diverse passions, she is studying information management and technology with a concentration in information security at the iSchool, and she is studying television, radio and film at Newhouse. 

“With my communication skills from Newhouse, combined with my technical skills from the iSchool, I will have built a magnificent skill set that can be applied to many different career paths,” she said. “At the end of the day, I firmly believe that the future of entertainment relies on the ever improving technology behind it. Knowing how to code, debug and problem solve, as well as film, edit and tell a story, makes me a more marketable applicant to future employers.”

She decided to double major after taking IST 195, an information technologies class with Professor Jeff Rubin. 

“This was hands down one of the most interesting classes I have ever taken at Syracuse, and it was so relevant to today’s society,” de Vera said. “I immediately knew I wanted to double major in the iSchool after taking that class.”

One of her favorite projects at the iSchool so far was in IST 263, Introduction to Front-End Web Development. Assistant Teaching Professor Laurie Ferger taught students the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. For her final project, de Vera had to code a website from scratch and decided to make a travel diary about her summer

“Be kind! It was my first website ever,” de Vera said. 

At Newhouse, her favorite project was from TRF 450: Artist Representation with Assistant Professor J. Christopher Hamilton. Students created business opportunities for celebrities and pitched them to talent agents from United Talent Agency. For her project, de Vera came up with future career moves for singer and actress Miley Cyrus. 

“It really pushed me creatively,” she said.

With graduation approaching next year, de Vera is still figuring out what career path is right for her. At the moment, she is spending a semester away in New York City and taking 19 credits while interning with DJ Maxwell Jones from the world-famous Z100 radio station. She also works as a photography assistant for Syracuse grad Michelle Rose.

“My internship is mainly running social media,” she said. “Although that might not sound related to tech, there is a lot of data analysis that goes into it. I use data from posting on Instagram and TikTok to help curate engaging content and innovative stories for the demographics that the data represents.”

If she could pick a dream career, de Vera would be a red carpet reporter and interview celebrities. But she’s still hoping to incorporate her love for technology somehow and says she would also love to work for an entertainment company, possibly programming for a radio station. 

“I think there is a lot of analysis involved in deciding what songs to play and where and when to play them. Despite being a more analytical role, it would still be at a fun radio station,” she said. 

While her career path is undecided for now, de Vera is leaning into the uncertainty by keeping a positive attitude. 

“It is important to remember that the job we are going to have in the future doesn’t even exist yet,” she said. “For the longest time I thought I was weird for studying such different subjects, but I learned that it’s important to chase after what excites you. I was once told that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and I live by that.”